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Orange Beach approves short-term rental ban

Orange Beach (WPMI)

Short-term residential rentals are no longer welcome in the city of Orange Beach.

The city council passed an ordinance banning property owners from renting their homes for anything less than two weeks.

City leaders say the ordinance only impacts owners of single-family residential properties and was needed for the safety of permanent residents.

Matt Wilson was at the meeting and said, as a father, he's glad the ordinance was passed.

"There were lots of complaints about things getting stolen and people doing lewd acts in the street," Wilson said. "People were partying, drinking and just doing what people do when they come to the beach sometimes. But then you've got a family with kids right next door."

Those complaints are exactly why city leaders say they passed the ban, which has been in the works for months.

City leaders say noise, trash, and overflow parking issues, as well as criminal activity, have been caused by some short-term renters.

"You've got kids that are 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10-years old being exposed to adult activity that they don't need to see," Wilson said.

To replace the Short-Term Rental license, Orange Beach has created a new “Vacation Rental" license which would allow homeowners to rent their properties for 14 days or longer. The change is not sitting well with everyone.

Jim Cate has been renting a home he owns in Orange Beach for years.

Cate believes the ordinance forces guests into big time condos in an effort to create more tax revenue in Orange Beach.

"Thirteen percent tax is more to the city so the city makes a lot of money, but it penalizes an individual tax holder and a person who owns property," said Cate. "A lot of people bought property because they could rent it to help pay for the property. Now you're forcing them aside."

City officials say the ordinance only impacts properties that are zoned as single-family residences.

Orange Beach city leaders said they don't believe it will have any impact on what is expected to be another busy beach season.

The current Short-Term Rental license is valid for a year.

According to officials, homeowners with the current Short-Term Rental license will be grandfathered in.

However, once that license expires, the property owner will be required to purchase the Vacation Rental license, if they intend to continue renting.

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